According to legend, the Vietnamese are descendants of the dragon, and when the monarchy was established, it became the symbol of the king. Legend has it that the Dragon Lord Lac Long Quan married Fairy Au Co, and their marriage gave birth to 100 children. At first, the royal family lived in harmony. But King Lac Long Quan was a dragon, so he needed to live by the water. And Queen Au Co missed her ancestral mountainous home.
Lac Long Quan took 50 of their children and moved to the lowlands. He taught them to fish, wearing tattoos to scare off sea monsters, to sow rice and to cook it in slender bamboo shoots. Au Co took the other 50 children and moved up to the highlands. She taught them to raise animals, to grow fruit trees, and to build homes out of sturdy bamboo stilts. Lac Long Quan and Au Co lived separately ever after. The eldest son was crowned King of Lac Viet and named himself King Hung Vuong. Lac Viet was renamed Van Lang - an ancient name for Vietnam, which was formed 4,000 years ago. Now, the dragon has awoken from its thousand years sleep. It recently emerged from the many decades of conflict and vowed to return to prosperity growth.
The new Vietnam has shown rapid growth second only to China in its economy with investment growing three-fold and domestic savings quintupled. It is now the world’s 14th most populous country. From 2000-2004, Vietnam averages a growth rate of 7.1% in GDP per year. In 2005, the GDP growth was 8.4%, the second largest growth in Asia, trailing only behind China. Vietnam expects to witness a GDP growth of 8 - 8.2 percent in 2007. Vietnam is now the world's largest exporter of robusta coffee, cashew nuts and pepper, and the second largest rice exporter. With the induction in 2006 to the World Trade Organization as its 150th member, it will be able to access world’s market share and an easier access to the U.S. market will allow Vietnam to hasten its transformation into a manufacturing-based, and export-oriented economy. Now has never been a better and exciting time to visit the New Dragon of Vietnam.
How to double, triple or quadruple your travel legacy this trip this year and create unforgettable and meaningful experiences?
Most trips make empty promises, showing off their fancy brochures, make you end up paying for extras, not being in a small enough group, not luxurious enough, not private, not VIP treated, no firsthand experience or face-to-face encounters.
On this journey, we will match you, our unique luxury traveler with unique places using local expertise and unobtrusive support that allows you to experience these places and events fully firsthand, and in your own personal style and class. You will meet interesting people, go behind the scenes, consistently enjoy wonderful meals and settle into unforgettable luxurious accommodations. Enjoy extraordinary personal service from start to finish!
We bring you, our luxury traveler face-to-face with the rich culture and natural beauty of Vietnam and make it possible for you to experience the old charm that made Vietnam legendary. You will be the travel envy ‘cream of the crop’ among your peers and family as you get to explore in-depth into the unique cultural experiences, and stay only at Asia’s finest hotels and resorts. This may be your pride of being successful, prosperous or simply rewarding yourself.
Any trip booked on us is worth taking it in style and luxury. We only book the most luxurious hotels or accommodations, or reserve all itineraries in first class private passage. Of course, there are times and places where it would be a shame, and a disappointment, to have less than the best. But we never compromise on travel essentials such as great meals, intelligent and affable guides, and all other indispensable elements that determine the quality of your trip. Because when all is said and done, what matters is that travel should be an experience and, above all, sheer, exhilarating fun. Let us take you for a ride to look at this culturally rich and beautiful country in the process of reintroducing itself to the world at large.
This trip is not laid out this way in any of those tours, trips, excursions, and travel packages. We had to figure it out and piece it together from a myriad of sources, historical books and maps, its geography and climate.
We can guarantee you this: even if you have been to Vietnam with all the other tours and groups and blessed with a good guide that shows you touristy places and food, even if you have stay at a deluxe accommodations and get private passage, you will enjoy plenty in this luxury private journey that you have never heard or travel of and considered before. This is the golden key to a previously concealed trip, to revolutionize your luxury traveling – whatever it is. And it IS the key to travel in style and luxury for life.
Read what Charles Agar, a freelance travel writer specializing in Southeast Asia for Frommer’s had to say about.
Vietnam is a land of stunning natural beauty and rich ancient heritage, and the Vietnamese people—more than half of who were born after the war—look to the future with relentless optimism. Backpackers rediscovered Vietnam in the early 1990s; today it's popular with all types of travelers, from budget to deluxe. Modern Vietnam is a safe and accessible travel destination for just about anyone in search of adventure.
A short ride along Vietnam's backbone, coastal Highway 1, offers a glimpse of this bustling, burgeoning nation of more than 80 million. You'll pass motorbikes balancing a family of four, stacked 10 feet high with bamboo fish traps or carrying a gaggle of plucked geese in front and back. Traffic is chaotic. In a clearing, a child absent-minded gnaws a switch of grass while riding astride a water buffalo; the beast lumbers across a marshy rice paddy as bright sun glints off the surface of the water. Workers nearby are bent at the waist, replanting delicate rice shoots. Fisherman cast their nets. Elderly women paddle small boats no bigger than buckets as they tend to a floating garden of white lotus.
All of these scenes are typical in Vietnam — a country whose colorful landscape is matched by the vibrancy of its history, its rich traditions and the indomitable spirit of a people who have endured so much yet look eagerly to the future. Adventures abound—trekking among hill tribes in the far north, riding the spine of the Annamese Cordillera on a motorbike or in a rented car with driver, enjoying a languid city tour by ‘cyclo’ (pedicab), dining street-side or exploring a local market. A visit to Hanoi, the capital, is a cacophonous romp. Start in the Old Quarter, a 15th-century trade center where streets are named for the crafts once plied there. Many visitors choose to visit the body of Ho Chi Minh, lying in state, or to take in Hanoi's famous water puppet show.
Hanoi is the gateway to the far north, an area populated by diverse groups of ethnic hill-tribe people from the south of China. Most popular are the luxury overnight trains from Hanoi to the town of Sapa. Ha Long Bay, just a few hours east of the capital, is a stunning area of high limestone Karst peaks, now visited by luxurious overnight cruise boats and kayak excursions.
South of Hanoi is the city of Hue, the old royal capital, a popular stop that offers a glimpse of life under Vietnam’s last royal dynasty. Farther south, near Da Nang, is Hoi An, a 15th century trading port and cultural center; it's a great place to shop, especially for individually tailored clothes, and to enjoy Cua Dai Beach.
Closer to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the city of Nha Trang, Vietnam's ocean city, with long, sweeping beaches, picturesque outlying islands and a gaggle of good up-market resorts. Inland from Nha Trang is the town of Dalat, a former French colonial hill station and gateway to the rural roads of the central highlands. This is a region where some of the Vietnam War's toughest battles were fought (Pleiku and Kontum might ring bells). A newly paved road now traces what was once the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Ho Chi Minh City — the old southern capital still known as Saigon to most ("Saigon" refers to the central business district)—is a heady mix of cobblestone streets (in areas such as Cholon, the city's Chinatown), contemporary hotels and office towers constructed of concrete and glass. The city offers some great, inexpensive shopping and a large central market (Ben Thanh). Unforgettable day trips from HCMC include a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where North Vietnamese guerrillas hid out, and a tour of the headquarters of the Cao Dai sect, a unique interdenominational faith. A mandatory trip to the Mekong Delta (south of HCMC), best done in an organized tour, includes visits to large floating markets, mangrove swamps and boat rides along rural canals to tiny fishing and craft villages.
Despite the expense and hassle of the long flight, travel in Vietnam is a bargain, and luxury hotels, fine dining and exciting adventure tours come at a fraction of the cost of similar services back home. Explore, enjoy and get there before everybody else does!
Take the journey to Hanoi, the capital with its 21st century city that blasts away any old associations with its rich stew of influences; Asian and French colonial, brand new and old Quarter. Investigate by leisure pace of a cycle. Do Hoan Kiem Lake on foot. Cruise Ha Long Bay, UNESCO, digs into ancient local dynastic culture, or indulges in glorious free time.
Emperor Gia Long founded Hue as his dynasty’s first capital. He even created his very own Forbidden City, part of the imperial citadel, which we take the time to visit. Retool your sense of romance at dusk aboard a private dragon boat with a private choir of Hue’s folk singers. Serenade by the sound of traditional music, dazzled by lights from the constellation of candles floating down Hue River. Reflections of graceful fishing nets on the Perfume Hue River. Also her: seven tombs for seven emperors. To Da Nang via scenic Hoi Van Pass. Settle into ocean-view resort.
Dined in style and entertained with traditional music blending seamlessly with the sounds of waves lapping along the shoreline, illuminated by brightly colored fishing boat at distance in Hoi An beach. Take in Hoi An and its ethnic scene firsthand on foot and takes note during a private cooking lesson (the chef has agreed to share his family recipes). Excavations at My Son round our understanding of the Cham people. Once called Saigon, HCMC sizzles with a bewildering blend of communist monumental, US military modern, and French colonial.
At the War Remnants Museum, get an eye-opening version of the “American War”. Burrow underground in Cu Chi Tunnels, the very ones that helped changed Southeast Asia history for good. Visit Cholon’s Chinatown evokes memories of China. Visit Cao Dai great temple, The Quiet American called it “The Walt Disney Fantasia of the East”. Across tranquil Mekong Delta’s emerald-green rice fields and beyond, see fabulous sunrise from balcony or linger over a lazy breakfast while colorful local life unfolds before you.
In heat of day, a dip in the pool will instantly refresh you or a stroll along the shore. Cool sundown drink in the bar before sitting down to sample Vietnamese gastronomy at its finest in stylish and romantic waterfront restaurant. Boundless stretch of fine sand at Phu Quoc. Sumptuous seafood on floating water village step from cool sea.
We will guarantee:
- There will be no price increases or whatsoever as soon as you put in your reservation payment
- You will be covered if your trip is canceled due to a terrorist incident or political evacuation
- Lastly, if this isn't the most enjoyable and exhilarating experience, and that you are not pamper, comfortable, in a very small group, and VIP treated and you find it disappointing in any way…you will be given full credit for the entire trip for every penny you have invested to be used for any of our existing itineraries or even create your own.
- Hanoi, the capital
- Cyclo ride through old Hanoi preserved as during French occupation
- Pay a visit to final resting place of Vietnam most famous Communist leader, Ho Chi Minh
- Enjoy a 10th century water puppet show
- An overnight train journey through exotic landscapes between Hanoi to Lao Cai, en route to Sapa, a French colonial hill station
- Trek through amazing rice paddies and magnificent Sapa valley
- Explore daily life of Black H’mong, Red Dao, Tay and Day ethnic minorities in their remote country villages
- Aboard 5 star cruise ship for scenic overnight cruise of Ha Long Bay, World Heritage Site
- Hue, World Heritage Site to relive the imperial grandeur, visit beautiful pagodas, ancient tombs & the Forbidden Purple City
- Private Perfume River cruise aboard the dragon boat
- Private Hue’s folk singers dinner entertainment
- Phong Nha cavern, World Heritage Site with spectacular longest water cave system in the world
- Drive through long scenic treacherous Hoi Van and Ngoan Muc Pass
- Visit a silk weaving factory to experience firsthand process from silkworm to finished products
- Vietnamese cooking lesson in Hoi An
- Hoi An, World Heritage Site model of a living museum of architecture and urban lifestyle preserved as in the late 16th century
- My Son Holy land, World Heritage Site
- Award-winning resort on beach, nestled in a lush tropical garden setting
- Elephant rides in Central Highlands
- Da Lat, a charming and romantic city in Central Highlands
- Nha Trang, Vietnam’s only real seaside town
- Gain insight into the lesser known Vietnam War with visits to Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum
- Cu Chi underground tunnels network
- Cao Dai great temple, “The Walt Disney Fantasia of the East”
- Private multiple Mekong River sunrise and sunset cruises on small rivers and tributaries
- Visit rice paper and rice noodle factories
- Many local markets’ visits at each stop
- Floating markets at Mekong Delta
- Experience first exposure to picturesque rice paddies, coastal road, mountains, waterfalls, river and islands
- Phu Quoc Island resort enjoying VIP spa activities.
- Private elephant rides
- Red Bridge cooking class
- Massage therapy at Sapa, Hue and Nha Trang
- VIP spa services for 2 days on Phu Quoc Island
- Luxury boat cruise on Ha Long Bay
- Bilingual speaking tour guide
- All activities and venues fees
- 5-star hotel or better based on double occupancy
- Full board package meals
- 1 soft drink, mineral water, or local beer included in every meal
- Approved invitation letter for Vietnamese visa.
- A/C private car, van or minibus for pick-up, transfers and sightseeing as per program
- Domestic flights: Ha Noi – Hue (Business class); Da Nang – Buon Ma Thuot; Dalat – HCMC; Phu Quoc Island – HCMC (Economy class)
- A/C soft sleeper train ticket: Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hanoi (Victoria Express Train)
- Private boat trips in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Hue and Mekong Delta